Following Brazilian Vanderlei de Lima's famous Olympic bronze medal Marathon success, Latin American runners hope to achieve a good performance at the 13th IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in New Delhi on 3 October.
With many of its best runners recovering from the demanding Athens Olympic course, other Latin American athletes view this weekend's race as a possible springboard to advance their careers.
Brazil will send its 2004 national champions: Franck Caldeira (men) and Adriana Aparecida da Silva (women), who won their titles in Rio de Janeiro on 5 September.
On that occasion Caldeira was led home by Kenyan runners John Gwako, Robert Cheruiyot and Phillip Rugut to finish fourth in the largest half marathon in Brazil with 1:03:40. In the women’s race, Aparecida da Silva was third in 1:14:32. Both runners hope to improve their personal bests in their World Half Marathon debut.
Chile will be represented in India by Carlos Jaramillo, who claimed the "Media Maratón Culturana 2004", on August 15, after a 1:07:21 effort.
Venezuela hosted the South American Championships in Maracaibo, on September 4, in a open race dominated by Kenyan runners. Rosa America Rodriguez (1:18:46) and Lervis Arias (1:06:30) pleased the home crowd with the regional titles and should represent their country in New Delhi.
NB. There is no Mexican representation in New Delhi.
Latin American History at the World Half
Latin America has been represented in all previous World Half Marathon Championships, which were held for the first time in Newcastle-South Shields, in September 1992.
Argentina's Antonio Silio, second in 1992, and Mexico's German Silva, runner-up in Oslo 1994, have achieved the region's best performances in the 12-year history of the event.
Brazil's former marathon world record holder Ronaldo da Costa is the third Latin American medallist with his bronze medal in the Norwegian capital.
In the team's competition, Mexico claimed the silver in Oslo and Brazil the bronze in South Shields.
More recently, in Veracruz 2000, Brazil's Cândida dos Reis Selma was 14th, the best placing by a Latin American female athlete in the event. In the team's race, the Mexican women was eighth.
Veracruz 2000, the only time the region hosted the competition, had the largest Latin American representation with 28 men and 11 women.
From the Caribbean, only 20 runners from Aruba, Bermuda, Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, Cayman Islands and Puerto Rico have attended the Worlds.
Best Half Marathon times by Latin Americans
Vanderlei de Lima's epic performance in Athens should boost road racing in Latin America, that has not seen any man run the half in less than 63 minutes in the last two seasons.
Mexico's Armando Quintanilla, who clocked 1:00:14 in 1993, leads the all-time half marathon lists, followed by his countrymen Dionisio Ceron (60:17), German Silva (60.28), Argentina's Antonio Silio (60:40), Brazil's Eduardo do Nascimento (60:40), Mexican-American Arturo Barrios (60.42) and Brazil's former marathon world record holder Ronaldo da Costa (60:54).
Mexican nationalized American Olga Appell has been the fastest woman with 68:34 since 1993, ahead of Mexico's Adriana Fernández (69:28), Brazil's Carmen de Oliveira (69:31) and Cuban Yesenia Centeno (69:59), who now represents Spain.